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Ahem. Foie Gras Sale Today.

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Saucy Series Part V: Sauce Robert

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Robert

Sauce Robert is one of the ancient sauces. Mentioned in literature and dating from at least the 15th century, it remained popular right through to the 19th century (although you can still buy bottled Sauce Robert, it is nothing like the original).

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La Varenne

The sauce is used brilliantly in the 17th century by the legendary cook La Varenne in a dish made with pork (you can read more about the history HERE.) This is no surprise since the sweet and sour oniony mustard sauce is a perfect accompaniment to pork.

Although the original was made with the whole loin, I decided that I would use D’Artagnan’s tenderloin for this recipe since I love the texture. Also, D’Artagnan’s Berkshire Pork has such a full flavor, unlike any supermarket tenderloin you are used to. It’s great pork, and the careful way it was raised can be tasted. Since it cooks quickly, a meal fit for a king can be ready in no time. Cooking the onions slowly is the longest step.

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Pork Tenderloin with Sauce Robert, serves 4

2 pork tenderloins
1 T lard or butter
1 large onion chopped
2 T butter
½ t salt and ½ t pepper*
pinch ground cloves
¾ c verjuice ** + ¼ c white wine vinegar OR ½ c white wine and ½ c white wine vinegar
2 small bunches sage leaves
½ c demi-glace
2 T grainy mustard

1. Heat the butter in a skillet and add the onions and one of the sage bunches. Cook at low heat for about ½ an hour till soft and sweet, stirring regularly.

2. Preheat oven to 425º.

3. Put the lard or butter in the heated pan, salt and pepper the tenderloins, put in the skillet and brown the meat over high heat for a minute or two on each side. Put them in the oven for 10 -15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145º. Remove from the oven and tent while you finish the sauce.

4. Remove the sage, add the verjuice and vinegar and begin reducing over medium-low heat. Add the demi-glace and stir till you have a thick sauce. Pour any juices from the pan (after removing excess fat) and pour any accumulated juices from the plate into the sauce. Add the salt and pepper and cloves.

5. Taste for seasoning and then add the mustard. Serve with the sliced tenderloin garnished with the rest of the sage.

*originally long peppers and grains of paradise would be used…they are great so use them if you can get them.

** verjuice is vinegar-like but milder and absolutely delicious –– refrigerate after opening

Ham, Glorious Ham!

In the December issue, Bon Appétit magazine “effusively recommends” our bone-in heritage ham for your holiday dinner. Obviously, we couldn’t agree more. There is nothing so satisfying (and impressive) as a gleaming, glazed ham on the table.

Click over to the Bon Appétit site and start planning your own path to ham nirvana (step one, buy it from dartagnan.com).

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You can serve a crowd at Christmas and then use leftovers in split pea soup. Yes, please.

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Recipe: Alsatian Roast Goose with Foie Gras and Chestnuts

This luxurious Alsatian-style goose is stuffed with ground veal and pork, and foie gras. It is the perfect main course to serve for dinner on Christmas Eve. And in true Alsatian style, is served on a bed of cabbage.

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Ingredients

For the cabbage:

1 large head red cabbage
1 cup red wine
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons rendered goose or duck fat
1 medium onion, sliced
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon red gooseberry jam or red currant jelly

For the goose: 

1 pound ready-to-use chestnuts
½ pound sliced white bread
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, chopped
½ pound each pork shoulder and veal shoulder
2 teaspoons ruby port
1 teaspoon Cognac
2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon quarter epices, or 1/8 teaspoon each ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper
1 goose, 8 to 10 pounds, 2 wing joints, giblets, neck, and excess fat and skin removed, skin pricked
Grade A foie gras, about 1 pound, cleaned
1 each onion and carrot, coarsely chopped
1 cup Alsace Riesling wine
½ cup cold water

Preparation

  1. For the cabbage: Remove and discard any damaged cabbage leaves. Core and quarter cabbage, then cut into ¼-inch shreds. Combine wine, vinegar, and bay leaf in a bowl.
  2. Heat goose fat in a large, deep casserole over medium-high heat. Stir in onion and sauté until lightly browned, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cabbage, apples, and wine-vinegar mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook slowly for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir in jam or jelly.
  3. For the goose: Soak bread in milk. Heat the 1 teaspoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat, add shallots, cover, and sweat until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Squeeze milk from bread. Combine bread, pork, and veal in a food processor, and pulse until chopped medium fine. Do not over process. Scrape mixture into a bowl, and add shallots, chestnuts, port, Cognac, parsley, quatre epices, and salt and pepper, and mix just to blend.
  5. Season inside of goose cavity with salt and pepper. Gently pack stuffing into goose, placing foie gras in the center of the stuffing. Truss goose with butcher’s twine, season outside with salt and pepper, and place on a rack in a roasting pan large enough to hold it comfortably. Melt the remaining 2 teaspoons of butter, and brush over goose.
  6. Turn goose on its side and roast for 1 hour. Turn bird to other side and roast another hour. While goose is roasting, prepare Braised Red Cabbage.
  7. After goose has roasted 2 hours, scatter onion and carrot in roasting pan, and turn bird on its back, breast up. Roast for 30 minutes longer, basting with pan juices two or three times. Goose should be golden brown, and juices should run pale pink when bird is deeply pricked in the breast. Remove goose from pan to a warm platter, tent with foil, and keep warm. Discard all fat from roasting pan and set pan on top of stove. Pour in wine and over medium-high heat, deglaze pan, stirring up all browned cooking bits. Reduce liquid to a glaze, then stir in the cold water and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain sauce and keep warm.
  8. Present whole roasted goose on the red cabbage. Slice at the table, and serve with stuffing and sauce.

Festive Feasting Flash Sale – Today Only!

Today only, save up to 40% on selected items at www.dartagnan.com. Don’t delay, get over there and shop!

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Thanksgivukkah Comes But Once Every 79,000 Years

You’ve surely heard. It’s being touted by the media as a once-in-a-lifetime event. The convergence of the Jewish and Gregorian calendars brings us a hybrid holiday this year: Thanksgivukkah.

Hanukkah falls early this year, with the first night of the Festival of Lights on Wednesday, November 27. And Thanksgiving is later than normal on Thursday, November 28.

So Jewish families will find themselves lighting a menorah after their turkey dinner on the second night of Hanukkah. And that means …

Thanksgivukkah

It might have been called Chanksgiving, but in a frenzy of excitement surrounding this unique holiday, the most common appellation is Thanksgivukkah. Seems it’s the winning hashtag. And once the mayor of Boston said he would proclaim November 28, 2013 “Thanksgivukkah,” the name stuck.

Thanksgivukkah has inspired products like the menurkey, a menorah shaped like a turkey (a nine-year-old kid created it!), t-shirts, cards, and an all-things Thanksgivukkah website. Rabbis have been commenting on it, and Buzzfeed weighed in with a credible mash-up menu for the festival (Manischewitz-brined turkey, anyone?).

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Light your menurkey.

Even satirist Stephen Colbert has commented on the phenomenon with a sketch, and this song parody supplies an anthem for Thanksgivukkah.

We are not falling for the hype…OK, maybe just a little. Come on, it’s not going to happen for another 79,000 or so. Let’s celebrate!

That means food in our book. Our friends at Bon Appetit have been unimpressed with the weird Thanksgivukkah recipes populating the internet, and their post about the worst-ever Thanksgivukkah menu had us chuckling.

So we’re just going to recommend a few of our favorite recipes that are appropriate for the occasion.  You decide how carried away you want to get with it.

First up, cassoulet. Granted, we have a little pork in our recipe (ventrèche is salted pork belly), but this bean and meat stew bears more than a little resemblance to cholent, a slow-cooked bean and meat stew served at countless Sabbath meals over the centuries in Eastern Europe. And with all due respect to kosher laws, the pork really adds something special. Cassoulet would make a perfect centerpiece for a Thanksgivukkah meal.

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Cassoulet serves a crowd.

For a more literal interpretation, try our potato latkes topped with foie gras and apples, which we just posted on the blog here.

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Potato latkes with foie gras

The legs of duck make beautiful confit when slow cooked in their own fat, and when they are shredded…well, we think duck rillettes are one of the most satisfying meat spreads around. Slice a baguette and get a jar of cornichons. Long live the duck fat!

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Duck rillettes

And speaking of confit, garlic can be cooked in duck fat for mellow, tender cloves that are virtually spreadable. We like them in any dish calling for garlic, and love stuffing poultry with the savory tidbits.

Cloves cooked.

Cloves cooked.

Sufganiyot are doughnuts, traditionally eaten because all the oil represents the miracle of the oil that Hanukkah is based upon. We use duck fat in the dough and in the fryer when we make doughnuts. You will agree this is divine once you taste them.  

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Duck fat doughnuts.

Of course, for a smaller gathering on any night of the holiday (Hanukkah lasts eight nights…does that mean Thanksgivukkah does too?) , a de-boned turkey breast that has been slathered with black truffle butter before roasting makes a very satisfying feast.

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Turkey roulade with black truffle butter.

Perhaps our newest product offers the simplest solution. Our Jean Reno Reserve Oil is much like the oil used in the Jewish temple to light the menorah. It is pure and is made using ancient techniques. And you can use it as a finishing oil without much fuss or forceful combining of recipes. It’s a lazy, but elegant solution.

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Celebrate the miracle of the olive oil.

Whatever you eat, however you celebrate it, Thanksgivukkah is the rarest of holidays. Enjoy it!

Duck Fat 50: Potato Pancakes AKA Latkes with Foie Gras

These golden potato pancakes are crisped in duck fat before being crowned with silky foie gras and tart apple. Delicious. And appropriate for Hanukkah. Or Thanksgivukkah. After all, the history of foie gras in Europe can be traced back to Jewish immigrants, who brought the technique of fattening ducks and geese from Egypt. Schmaltz, anyone?

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INGREDIENTS

2 medium Granny Smith or other tart green apples, peeled, cored, and cut crosswise in 1/8-inch slices (reserve trimmings)
2/3 cup simple syrup
1¼ cups duck and veal demi-glace
2 medium-large baking potatoes (about 1¼ pounds), peeled
1 small onion
1 small golden delicious or other sweet apple, peeled
1 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 egg, beaten
6 or more tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 duck fat
6 foie gras slices

PREPARATION

1. Combine sliced apples with simple syrup in a bowl and soak for 8 hours or overnight.

2. Add apple trimmings to demi-glace, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and keep warm.

3. Grate potatoes, red apple, and onion. Gently stir in parsley, egg, and flour, and season with salt and pepper. Heat enough duck fat to measure about ½ inches deep in a large heavy skillet. Form mixture into 12 pancakes. If too moist, add a little more flour. When fat is hot, about 375 degrees F, add only as many pancakes as will comfortably fit in pan without crowding, flattening them slightly. Cook until browned and crispy on both sides, turning once. Remove with a slotted spatula, blot on paper towels, and keep warm in a warm oven. Discard fat and wipe out pan.

4. Heat pan until very hot. Season foie gras with salt and pepper, and sauté until lightly browned and medium-rare inside, about 45 seconds per side.

5. On warm plates, place a potato pancake, then add an apple slice and a foie gras medallion on top. Spoon on sauce, and serve.

About Our Reserve Jean Reno Olive Oils

A message from Ariane…

It’s not every day that you meet a movie star like Jean Reno, let alone go into business with him. But I was lucky enough to have a long dinner with the great man and our talk turned to food, to France, and to his passion: olive oil. Not only olive oil, but also the rugged little olive tree that seems to live forever, that is such a strong symbol of peace, immortality and beauty.

Over 25 years ago, Jean found a mas, a traditional farmhouse in Provence, which he purchased with an eye to moving his aged father there. Indeed, the home gave his father peace in his final years and a resting place in death, as Jean buried his father on the property.  As you might imagine, he holds a deep affection for Provence and feels a great connection to the place.

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Jean Reno among his olive trees.

Since becoming a local, he has learned a lot about the olive trees of the area, more specifically in Maussane-les-Alpilles in the heart of the Vallée des Baux-de-Provence. This region of Southern France has been famous for its olives since the early Roman Empire, and continues to rank as France’s top olive oil producer with AOC status. Olive oil may be France’s best kept secret. Very small amounts are produced in the traditional manner, and it usually stays in the region. Very little is exported.

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The olive groves of Maussane-les-Alpilles.

But Jean and I thought it was time to change that.  You see, he bought the farmhouse with a little property, and then added a little more, and those acres included some fine olive orchards.  Like many in Les-Alpilles, Jean’s trees would produce enough olive oil for his family to enjoy. So he bought more acres of trees to make more olive oil.

He also became involved with the local moulin, or mill, that was producing his olive oil. The moulin follows traditional methods, using great granite stones to crush the olives. Working with them, he developed the blends for his olive oils, and now he’s the president of their association. He is a vocal advocate for true flavors of terroir and for the superb olive oil that flows from the moulin.

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The moulin –or mill–is in an ancient Benedictine monastery.

Great chefs like Joël  Robuchon and Daniel Boulud knew a good thing when they tasted it, and started using his olive oils in their restaurants. But Jean had a vision to bring his olive oil to a wider audience with the help of D’Artagnan.

That’s how it began, and I am proud that after months of work, we now offer three styles of olive oil, made with olives hand harvested in Reno’s own orchard and pressed in the historic mill famous since 1924 for creating fine quality oils.

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Barely a month after the U.S. launch, we are honored that restaurants like Balthazar, Mercer Kitchen, Felix, SoHo Grand and Bistro Vendome in NYC are using our oils on a regular basis. But the excitement about Jean Reno Olive Oil is not limited to Manhattan. In Chicago such luminaries as Graham Elliot, L2O, Les Nomades, Brindille, Belly Q, Acadia and Black Bull are among the many serving it. And in Boston you can taste it at The Four Seasons Hotel.  New Jersey restaurants serving it include Highlawn Pavilion, Restaurant Serenade, GP Restaurant, Restaurant Avenue, and Park Ave Club.  Le Diplomate in D.C., Philippe’s Wine Cellars in Lafayette, LA and Café de la Presse in San Francisco, CA are just a few of our  national clients who appreciate and serve these oils.

Jean Reno olive oil is not yet found in retail stores, so if you want to try it, the best place to go is our website.

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Freshly picked olives being sorted.

The olives you will taste in these oils are varieties exclusively grown in the region. They are: Salonenque, Grossane, Béruguette, Verdale des Bouches du Rhône and Picholine.

Another distinction of oil from Maussane-les-Alpilles is that the olives are aged and slightly fermented for a brief period before being crushed under ancient granite millstones, and then mechanically pressed in large scourtins (disks) to extract pure, unfiltered olive oil. This all comes from matters of practicality, as in the old days with limited technology, only so many olives could be picked and processed into oil each day. The ones that got pressed later were more fermented, and it became a hallmark of production in the region.

This aging process, which can last as little as one day or as long as a week, allows the water to evaporate out of the fruit and it makes the flavors more intense. The Fruite Noir, or Black Fruity, variety is a virgin olive oil, and is aged the longest, about seven days. When you taste the oil from this fruit, which is 50% Picholine olive, it’s like eating the olive itself. It tastes like liquid olive tapenade, with a unique fruity flavor that is slightly acidic with subtle aromas of cocoa, bread and roasted artichoke.

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All three of Jean’s olive oils are smooth and silky with subtle aromas and terroir rarely encountered outside of France.

The Fruite Vert, or Green Fruity, is aged for one or two days only and the juice is extracted, not pressed. This changes the flavor and aroma immensely; it is fresh, barely acidic, with a peppery note, hints of green herbs, grapefruit and fresh almonds.

The Classic Blend, Extra Virgin Olive Oil offers a mix of four olives that have been aged for three days. It’s well-balanced oil with light floral notes of dried fruits and a fresh peppery aftertaste.

Each of Jean’s oils are made in limited quantities. Do not hesitate to order them soon (they make a nice gift for a food lover).

Watch our video to see what Jean has to say about his oils and get tips on how to use them.

Jean and I appeared together on BFM TV to talk about the project. If you can understand our French, you may enjoy this video in which Jean recommends drinking olive oil straight from the bottle!

And if you enter our contest on Facebook this week you could win all three varieties –autographed by Jean himself.  

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The autographed bottles.

Turkey Stuffing v. Dressing

Whether a stuffing is a dressing, or vice versa, is as much about semantics as whether it is cooked inside or outside the bird. One thing that is certain, both are tasty, fragrant, comforting and satisfying; accompaniments with a balance of texture and taste that complement the bird and pay compliment to the cook. While recipes for many holiday dressings tend to build on bread, plenty call for grains like rice (wild or tame), or even cooked chestnuts as a primary foundation. A dressing also presents you with an opportunity to add a few choice ingredients that can elevate the level of your meal, or step up to an elaborately prepared gourmet bird. Several recipes take advantage of the bounty of autumn and fall harvests, and include fresh ingredients such crisp apples and pears, wild chanterelle and black trumpet mushrooms, and various truffles like the White Alba and Winter Black varieties.

If your dinner is a more formal affair, another grand way to stuff or accompany a bird is with a loose dressing, not based on or bound by starch at all, or with forcemeat such as chicken mousseline. For a full-on gourmet departure, fill your bird with a simple loose dressing of just a few choice yet intense ingredients; for example fresh Wild Boar Sausage and minced bits of turkey liver sautéed with prunes plumped in black tea, and golden raisins darkened in port – of course, with the port thrown in. For a true delicacy, consider a boned bird or turkey breast filled with a duxelles of fresh wild mushrooms or beautiful pieces of foie gras incorporated into a chicken breast mousseline.

For our take on the traditional bread stuffing, try making this Wild Boar Sausage with Apple Stuffing. The wild boar sausage has a hint of sage that is perfect for Thanksgiving, and tastes just enough like traditional pork sausage that finicky eaters will not have word of complaint.

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A D’Artagnan favorite: Wild Boar Sausage & Apple Stuffing

INGREDIENTS

1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 package of Wild Boar Sausage
4 cups stale bread cubes, or unseasoned stuffing cubes
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
1 to 2 apples peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

PREPARATION

1. In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery and onion and cook until soft and translucent. Break up sausage meat into small chunks (about the same size as the bread cubes) and add to the pan. When the sausage is cooked through, add the apples, sage and broth (or water). Bring to a simmer.

2. Place the bread in a large mixing bowl and pour the cooked ingredients over the top. Mix thoroughly to moisten all of the bread. Test seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a covered casserole until completely heated through and starting to turn golden brown on top and around the edges.

More in the category of dressing, this recipe for Sauté of Chestnuts, Walnuts, Fennel and Onions is inspired by the cuisine of Joël Robuchon, and adapted from Patricia Wells’ book Simply French. Ariane loves to make it with our already-prepared chestnuts, black truffle butter and demi-glace, as you will see below.

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Saute of Chestnuts, Walnuts, Fennel and Onions

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups Ready-to-Use Chestnuts
20 pearl onions, blanched and peeled
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Black Truffle Butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 fennel bulb, cut into fine julienne, fronds reserved
4 shallots, cut lengthwise into eighths
1/2 cup walnut halves
Duck and Veal Demi-Glace, as needed
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

PREPARATION

1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter each in two medium sauté pans over medium-high heat. Add the onions to one and the chestnuts to the other and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and chestnuts have started to turn golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle each pan with 1 tablespoon sugar. Continue cooking the vegetables, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until evenly glazed and caramelized. Set aside.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons truffle butter in a large skillet over high heat and add shallots. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the shallots are translucent, one to two minutes. Add fennel and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring frequently, until the fennel and shallots have started to color. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

3. Add glazed chestnuts and onions to the pan with the shallots and fennel and cook everything together for another minute or so. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add demi-glace by the tablespoon-full if the mixture seems dry. You may not need the demi-glace. Stir in walnuts and reserved fennel fronds and serve.

If you decide to forgo stuffing altogether, and brave the ensuing riot, or cook your dressing outside of the bird in a baking dish, you can still make good use of the cavity. There is a method of stuffing intended only to add flavor to the meat. It can be as simple as placing rough chopped onions and carrots lightly sautéed with a sprig of fresh tarragon, or tart apples with the skins pierced, inside the cavity. You then remove and discard these dressings after cooking.

One of Ariane’s favorite things to do when not stuffing the bird is to put a few pieces of garlic confit in the cavity. To make garlic confit, melt enough rendered duck fat in a saucepan to generously cover your peeled cloves of garlic, and simmer gently over medium heat until the garlic becomes soft. You’ll be delighted with how delicious these little babies are, especially so without that sharp garlicky edge. Make a big batch and keep them in the refrigerator to use for everything from spreading on bread to flavoring your mashed potatoes.

Holiday Helpers are 15% OFF this Week!

This time of year it’s all about the turkey at D’Artagnan. But let’s not forget all the side dishes that are vital to the Thanksgiving feast.

Mashed potatoes, anyone? We always add black truffle butter to ours.  And who doesn’t love stuffing? You need wild boar sausage and chestnuts for that.

Duck fat and demi-glace are workhorses in the kitchen. And what holiday is complete without a little foie gras and fungi?

Be prepared for anything with our holiday helpers, all 15% off this week.

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